Part of Orders of the Day — Civil Services Supplementary Estimates, 1924–25. – in the House of Commons on 10th March 1925.

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Photo of Mr William Joynson-Hicks Mr William Joynson-Hicks , Twickenham

In open Court, provided the name is communicated to the other side, to the prisoner and the jury. The 10.0 P.M.

Public Prosecutor and some of His Majesty's Judges are seriously concerned in regard to this question of blackmail. They are seriously concerned as to the number of cases, of a disreputable character occasionally, and the difficulty of dealing with them adequately. I am not going to discuss that question to-night, because it would need very careful consideration by the Government. I do not say more than that. It is the opinion of the Public Prosecutor that we may have to ask the House of Commons to inflict a more serious penalty than is in operation at the present time.

One hon. Member said, quite rightly, that this is a crime committed by cowards upon cowards. The coward who is being blackmailed is just as much entitled to the protection of the Courts as the brave man. Many of us may be cowards in regard to that matter. It is not only in cases where there is no secret, but the case of the blackmail is often as bad where there is a secret, and where some unfortunate man maybe 10 or 20 years ago has been seduced into one of these horrible crimes for the very purpose of blackmail. Many cases which the police have under their cognisance are cases where young men have been seduced into these crimes, for the very purpose of leading them a life of blackmail for years to come. It is the coward with whom we have to deal, and the view of the public prosecutor is that we should, if necessary, and if the crime goes on as it is going on, ask the House of Commons to give us power to inflict the penalty of flogging. That is a very serious proposition.